Written by Anaisa Arora, a grade 8 student
She’s been called the “Princess of Pop”.
Britney Spears is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress, who was called the Princess of Pop in the 1990s. She was really, really popular in the 90s (think Taylor Swift today). Spears has scored six number-one albums on the Billboard 200. In 2011, she became the second artist in the Hot 100’s history to debut at number one with two or more songs. She’s won many awards – including a Grammy Award and thirteen Guinness World Records, six MTV Video Music Awards, and seven Billboard Music Awards, to name a few.
What’s the issue with her father and what’s the Free Britney Movement?
Britney was put under, what’s called a conservatorship (we explain that a little below), after she had a public breakdown in 2008. At first, she was put under a lockdown in a psychiatric hospital by the authorities for a mental evaluation after she locked herself in a room with one of her children at her home in Los Angeles, and refused to hand him over to her ex-husband Kevin Federline. Following the incident, she lost custody of her two children. She also attacked a photographer’s car with an umbrella.
She apparently started going through some personal struggles in 2006 and it was believed that she could not look after her son properly. She had a breakdown and was found unfit to take care of a child (or her own matters) by a court in the US.
Hence, in 2008 she was placed under, what’s called conservatorship, of her father Jamie Spears, which she is still under even today, at the age of 38. Jamie was given the legal right to oversee and make decisions on matters of her finances, health, business deals, and personal life. He managed this until 2019.
Her fans want her freed of this.
So, explain conservatorship to me
A conservatorship is when a judge appoints a person or an agency to care for another adult who is considered incompetent to take care of themselves or handle their finances. In this case, Britney is the ‘conservatee’ and her father is the ‘conservator’.
Britney now wants to be free and has requested the court to hear her case. Also, a new BBC documentary about Britney Spears has been released to show how she’s been under the conservatorship.
Her father, by the way, stepped down as her personal conservator in 2019, and a temporary conservator took over, after she announced that she wouldn’t perform until her father was removed as her conservator.
The Free Britney Movement
The #FreeBritney is a campaign launched by Britney’s fans to exert pressure on the authorities to terminate her conservatorship. Britney’s fans have questioned, for a while now, whether the treatment given to her was fair and if the conservatorship was her best interest.
Some of Spears’ supporters suspect she was coerced into the agreement and that she has been appealing for assistance on social media. The movement goes back to 2009, when a fan set up a site called FreeBritney.net to enlist reasons to remove her conservatorship. Now the movement has returned.
#FreeBritney campaigners have even asked the White House to intervene and help in ending her conservatorship. They’ve submitted petitions with tens of thousands of signatures. The campaigners also hold regular demonstrations outside the court hearings
Britney’s Gram, a fan podcast, broadcasted a voicemail from a person claiming to be a paralegal on Jamie Spears’ legal staff, saying she was being kept in the institution against her will and that her father had cancelled her Las Vegas residency because she declined to take her medication.
The voicemail went viral, spawning the FreeBritney hashtag, with support from the American Civil Liberties Union and celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus, as well as marches outside the courts during the trials.
The court named Bessemer Trust as co-conservator of Britney’s estate alongside Jamie in November 2020. The dispute is ongoing in court. Britney is also obligated to reimburse the legal fees to her own attorneys as well as the lawyers of her conservators. Last year, she spent a million dollars in legal fees.
The singer has not commented on the #FreeBritney petition, although in recent years, she has begun telling fans that she is doing well.
Following her 2019 stay in a mental health hospital, Spears advised viewers not to trust “everything you read and hear.” “And all of you who don’t believe I share my own videos… you’re mistaken,” she said in an Instagram video.Want to write for us? We publish children’s writing Click Here